The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has said most of the federal polytechnics in the country are facing serious challenge of dearth of requisite academic staff as a result of the debilitating effect of the embargo on employment.
A statement by the Board’s Head of Media Unit, Hajiya Fatima Abubakar, said the NBTE Executive Secretary, Professor Idris Bugaje and the Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER), the umbrella body of Rectors of Federal Polytechnics had severally written the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan for intervention to no avail.
The NBTE executive secretary in a letter with Ref. No. C/TEB.564/VOL.II/331, dated 10th May, 2021 to Head of Service of the Federation, lamented that “the sector presently suffers from inadequate technical manpower due to inability to replace retired staff and those who died. This is causing impediments in maintaining current training programmes not to talk of adding new ones.”
He said some of the new programmes such as Railway Engineering, Gas Engineering, and Mechatronics Engineering lacked lecturers and appealed for the head of service’s intervention, warning that if the polytechnics are not allowed to do the replacements, it would bring down the quality of TVET products and prevent rolling out new ones.
In a separate letter with Ref No. C/TEB. 201/VOL.VII/80 dated 7th October, 2021 addressed to the Minister of Education, Professor Bugaje requested the minister to endorse the plea by federal polytechnics to replace exited staff for the approval of Mr President.
He cautioned that: “Most of the Federal Polytechnics shall loose accreditation due to inability to replace retired and exited staff… I would not want us to lower the standards already set.”
On their part, the Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER) in its letter of appeal with Ref. No. COFER/SEC/VOL.3/10 dated 5th October, 2021 and addressed to the Head of Service, expressed the fears that the embargo on employment could deprive the national economy of the much needed technically skilled manpower.
While noting that most of the institutions are static in academic development due to lack of adequate personnel to teach students, the federal rectors pointed out that “NBTE do require Polytechnics who are applying for accreditation and reaccreditation of their programmes and courses to meet the required staff-student ratio.”